Carbonite Expands Its Cloud Data Protection Tech To Midrange With EVault Acquisition

Cloud data protection vendor Carbonite is moving upscale into the midsize business market with an acquisition of the disaster recovery and business continuity business of EVault from Seagate.

Boston-based Carbonite, known primarily as a provider of cloud-based data protection services to consumers and small businesses, said Wednesday that it has signed an agreement to purchase most of EVault's operations for $14 million in cash, in a deal expected to close in January.

With the deal, Carbonite will get the EVault Cloud Backup and Recovery software-only solution for server backups; the EVault Backup and Recovery Appliance, which brings the EVault to an appliance sitting at a customer's site; and EVault Cloud Resiliency Services for managing failovers into the cloud.

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It's an exciting acquisition, said David Levenson, owner of Creative Computer Consulting, a Framingham, Mass.-based managed services provider and Carbonite channel partner.

Carbonite has been a great company to work with from a channel perspective, and its acquisition of EVault will make it even stronger, Levenson told CRN.

"If you don't grow, you won't make it in the future," he said. "This is exciting news for Carbonite. They know, if they want to be somebody, they need to acquire the best."

For Carbonite, the EVault acquisition is the best way to continue moving away from its consumer roots to become a major provider of data protection services to businesses, said Mohamad Ali, Carbonite president and CEO.

Carbonite was a pioneer in the online backup business when it started about 10 years ago. The company entered the small business cloud-based data protection business about three years ago, and now gets 37 percent of its revenue from businesses with up to 100 people, Ali said. That part of the business is growing about 30 percent year to year, he said.

"We have been looking at expanding to service customers with over 100 employees," Ali said. "EVault started with a focus on SMBs with up to 500 employees. It's perfect for us. We have a similar model, putting software and appliances on the customer site."

However, EVault also brings a sophistication in its offerings that would take Carbonite years to develop on its own, Ali said.

"EVault offers a one-hour SLA on failovers," Ali said. "It's probably the most sophisticated SLA in the industry. To do this on our own, we still need three years. This acquisition shaves years off our development."

Adding EVault to the Carbonite fold will mean the majority of Carbonite's business will come from SMBs for the first time, Ali said. It also brings Carbonite a base of MSPs and other channel partners to help ensure its growth in the market, he said.

"It's really exciting," he said. "We have 7,700 channel partners, mainly small VARs, which is great. But EVault brings 500 sophisticated MSPs and other channel partners. That's gold to us. We've been waiting to expand to this kind of base. Now we can do it all at once.

Seagate's association with EVault goes back several years.

Seagate in 2007 acquired EVault, making it the center of the company's cloud-based data protection solution. Seagate in 2008 rolled EVault and other data protection services into a new company called i365, but in 2011 restored the EVault name. Seagate this year renamed it the Hybrid Cloud Data Protection solution.

Ali said Carbonite's acquisition of the bulk of the EVault business worked out well, both in terms of timing and in terms of what Carbonite has said are plans to move upscale in the data protection business.

The timing was right because Seagate has been looking at how to handle its EVault business even as Carbonite was looking to expand its business.

"Also, Carbonite has been in this business a long time," he said. "Private equity businesses don't know where to start. We do. EVault has great technology, but also a large number of data centers. Those data centers tend to be inefficient. Carbonite, on the other hand, has super-efficient data centers, but not the sophisticated solution at the front end. So it's a perfect combination. We were able to move quickly. And we know how to monetize this fast."

Carbonite in 2014 introduced its first on-premises data protection appliances, tying small business data to the Amazon Cloud.

Carbonite has a history of acquisitions. The company in October acquired intellectual property and hired engineers from Rebit, giving Carbonite access to patents it used in its cloud storage offerings based on previous OEM agreements.

Carbonite has also been a target of acquisition. The company in May finally shut down a two-year attempt by Los Angeles-based cloud services firm J2 Global to purchase Carbonite for $15 per share, or a total of about $404 million, and unveiled plans to stay independent.